Responses by Tess Wicksteed, partner/strategy, Here Design
Background: Redemption Roasters is an artisan coffee company serving fine-crafted coffee made with beans prepared by inmates enrolled in a roastery and barista academy at Aylesbury Young Offenders Institute, which aims to reduce reoffending rates in young offenders. The new brand identity tells this powerful story through a series of colorful graphics, illustrations and symbols—enabling the consumer to be part of this redemptive process.
Reasoning: We selected a vibrant color palette of blues and orange with a fittingly powerful impact to tell this story of redemption. The new logo brings together the two ‘R’s of the brand name into a keyhole form in a nod to the unlocking of untapped potential, with a silhouette that also reflects the shape of a coffee roaster. We also introduced a descriptive design system that follows the journey of each cup of coffee and celebrates the working community along each stage of the process.
Challenges: We wanted to highlight the fact that this is a private/public sector collaboration with the Ministry of Justice and the very real effect we hope people drinking this coffee can have on the lives of the young offenders at Aylesbury without exploiting their story.
Favorite details: I think the purposeful, even joyful activity of the illustrations conveying both the prison and the coffee making process are pretty cool. When we went into the Redemption Roasters workshop, it was just this lovely atmosphere of cheerful industry—everyone working harmoniously together. I think we captured that business and that pride in the new identity.
Anything new: This project made us think about both the importance of public and private sector initiatives, and specifically the problems and challenges of such an initiative in prisons. Some people have said that initiatives such as this are doing it for the free labor, but at Redemption Roasters it really could not be further from the truth.
Alternative approaches: I think we would have visited Aylesbury earlier in the process. We always loved the idea, but going there made us realize that we wanted to be a proper part of what Ted Rosner, cofounder of Redemption Roasters, was doing. It’s exactly the sort of project we want to focus on and it’s great to see design making a difference in areas where communication needs to be more nuanced.